The Australian journalist, imprisoned in a British jail, risks being immediately extradited to the US.
A group of Brazilian former ministers, academics, trade unionists, journalists and scientists asked in a letter to the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to grant political asylum to Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and imprisoned in the United Kingdom, and who runs the risk to be extradited to the US, where he can be sentenced to life in prison.
In the letter, which It has almost 2,900 signatures and echoed by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, it is recalled that Assange could be sentenced, for “revealing real facts”, to a sentence of up to 175 years in prison in the North American country.
Assange is charged in the US for the publication of hundreds of thousands of pages of secret military documents and confidential diplomatic cables on the activities of that country in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were disseminated by its WikiLeaks portal.
The US Justice presented a total of 18 charges against him under the Espionage Law.
The founder of WikiLeaks has been imprisoned since April 2019 in the Belmarsh UK maximum security prisonwhere he was detained after the then president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, allowed his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had remained in asylum status for seven years, since June 2012.
Last April, the British Justice approved his extradition, a decision that was validated on June 17 by the Government of the United Kingdom.
“Humanitarian and progressive position”
In the letter sent to Lula, the group proposes that the president promote an international effort “along with other countries” to get the British government to accept political asylum.
“We believe that regardless of the result, this vigorous effort in defense of Assange will contribute to further mark the humanitarian and progressive position of the Brazilian government in the world, as has been our hallmark since January 1, 2023,” the text states.
They also add that the president could follow the same line as his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who in 2022 offered Assange political asylum. The idea is that Lula asks the British government directly.
Last week, Lula called the silence of the media and the lack of support from the world press for Assange “cowardice.” “He is in prison and may be extradited to the US and, who knows, he may even be sentenced to life in prison. for denouncing espionage to the world. And I don’t see any manifestation of the world press in defense of press freedom,” Lula wrote in Twitter.
And he continued: “That is cowardice. What was the crime he committed?”. The president had already spoken on other occasions in favor of the Australian journalist.
Among the signatories of the letter are the photographer Sebastião Salgado, the investigators from the Fiocruz Institute Renato Cordeiro and Alvaro Nascimento, and the former ministers Jose Gomes Temporão and Sergio Machado Rezende, among many others.
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